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CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS:
A BILL OF RIGHTS

Revised, Summer 2005
San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership
(formerly SFPIP)

Supported by the Zellerbach Family Foundation

 

The San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (SFCIPP) is a coalition of social service providers, representatives of government bodies, advocates and others who work with or are concerned about children of incarcerated parents and their families. Formed in 2000 under the auspices of the Zellerbach Family Foundation, SFCIPP works to improve the lives of children of incarcerated parents, and to increase awareness of these children, their needs and their strengths.

 

After studying the issues affecting these children and their families, SFCIPP members agreed that a children’s perspective was the logical framework from which all future work should evolve. We understand that children’s rights and needs may sometimes conflict with, and must be balanced against, institutional concerns and requirements, but believe it is essential to start from the child’s perspective and work on what is possible from there.

 

The bill of rights that follows is derived from the experience of Gretchen Newby, executive director of Friends Outside—who drafted the original bill of rights on which this one is based—in working with families affected by incarceration, and from interviews conducted by journalist Nell Bernstein with over 30 young people who have experienced parental incarceration (the names of those interviewed have been changed). It also relies on the research and conclusions of Charlene Simmons of the California Research Bureau and Peter Breen of the Child Welfare League of America, and derives in great part from the ongoing conversation that has been taking place among SFCIPP members under the guidance of Ellen Walker of the Zellerbach Family Foundation. Sydney Gurewitz Clemens, Cassie Pierson, and Ellen Walker provided editorial guidance.

 
 

 
 


SFCIPP members attending a quarterly meeting

 

 

SFCIPP Timeline of Significant Events



2001
March



Inaugural meeting of SCFIPP was held on March 29, 2001 with representation from SF Human Services Agency, CBOs, California Research Bureau, SF Sherriff’s Department, UC Data, Stuart Foundation, and Zellerbach Family Foundation.

 


2002
January



Consultant hired by SFCIPP to conduct “What’s Currently Happening” Research Project of what is happening now in San Francisco regarding incarcerated moms and their children (identify current programs, gaps in services, barriers to fill gaps and a systems flowchart).

 


October

Idea for a Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents Bill is hatched.



2003
November


Children of Incarcerated Parents Bill of Rights is launched.


December


SF Public Defender’s Office approaches Zellerbach with the idea of the Children of Incarcerated Parent’s Social Worker in the Office of the Public Defender.

 

 


2004
July


Public Defender’s Office hires a specialist to work on Children of Incarcerated Parents issues.


October


Center for Young Women’s Development Initiates development of Bill of Rights for Young Women in the SF Juvenile Hall.
AB 194 is passed allowing parents to make three phone calls at time of arrest to ensure their child(ren)’s safety.



2005
January



SFCIPP Part-time coordinator is hired.
Rights to Realities Campaign is launched.

 
July

SF Board of Supervisors passes a resolution endorsing the Bill of Rights and encourages City Agencies across SF to work together to implement the rights.
 
August

SFCIPP website is launched.
Time of Arrest Workgroup is organized based on the current research efforts being conducted by the California Research Bureau.
 
2006
January


Cuts in visiting at state prisons triggers SCFIPP to form a Visitation Workgroup focused on examining visiting policies and practices at the local level in the SF County Jail.
 


April


California Research Bureau hosts conference: Keeping Children Safe When Parents are Arrested: Local Law Enforcement Approaches That Work. 
 First Youth Advocates were hired for Project WHAT! (We're Here and Talking).
The Center for Young Women’s Development produces the video My Life Chose Me.
 
July

A draft of the Time of Arrest Protocol is developed with the SF Police Department.
 
September

Visitation Workgroup begins discussions with the SF Sheriff’s Department about contact visiting between children and their parents.
AB 1942 is passed requiring the statewide Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) to create guidelines and a training video on child safety at time of arrest.
 
2007
January


SF Police Chief signs city-wide Time of Arrest Protocol Bulletin.
 
May

SFCIPP hires consultant to act as liaison between SF Sherriff’s Office and FCS to improve visiting and implement consistent visiting policies.
 
July

Funding from Annie E. Casey Foundation allows development of a CIP Coordinator position at FCS.
Family to Family Consultant hired to work with FCS and SFCIPP to develop a toolkit to replicate HSA CIP project.
 
October

One Family Workgroup is established with representatives from SFSD, HSA, Public Defender’s Office, CBOs, and the Courts. Initial goal is to establish meaningful contact visits for children in all 9 facilities of SF County Jail.
Chowchilla Express begins operation to bring children from throughout the state to visit their moms at remote prisons in Central California (Chowchilla).
 
2008
September


Community Works’ One Family Visiting Program is launched.           
AB 2070 is passed increasing the time of reunification from 15 to 22 months if parent’s incarceration is a significant factor in child’s placement into the child welfare system.
 


December


SCFIPP begins conversations with the SF Adult Probation Department on a Family Impact Statement.
 
2009
May


Formal draft of questions for Probation Family Impact Statement is developed.
Joint Child Welfare/Police Department Time of Arrest Protocol Pilot trainings are conducted with two police precincts in San Francisco.
 


October


Project WHAT! hosts the first ever PW Summit for Children of Incarcerated Parents.
Family Impact Statement is formally incorporated into the SF Probation Department Pre-Sentence Report.
California State Senate passes resolution encouraging government agencies to distribute the CIP BOR and encourages departments to use the BOR as a framework for analysis and determination of procedures when making decisions about services for these children.
SFCIPP team travels to NYC to present its work to newly establish NY CIP partnership.
SB 118 is passed requiring social workers to include information about parental incarceration into the child welfare case management system.
 
2010
January



SF Reentry Council establishes Subcommittee on Families, Communities and Victims with many representatives from SFCIPP.

 
February

SFCIPP launches blog page.
 
April

SFSD launches a bus shuttle service from city center to a remote SF County jail facility.
 
May

SFCIPP team travels to Los Angeles to present its work to potential new LA CIP coalition.
 
June

SFCIPP creates program associate position to establish leadership role for CIP within coalition.
 
September

SB 962 is passed authorizing incarcerated parents to attend dependency court hearings about their children by video conference.
 
2011
January


SFCIPP representatives begin work with Alameda County leaders to launch an ACCIPP (Alameda County Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership).
Alameda County formalizes Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership, based on the SFCIPP model. Solano and San Mateo Counties begin similar replication efforts.
SFCIPP launches Facebook page.
 
April

Annie E. Casey Foundation publishes When A Parent is Incarcerated: A Primer for Social Worker, a toolkit for social workers serving CIP, authored by SFCIPP member Yali Lincroft and based on SF FCS’ collaborative efforts with SFCIPP.
SF Reentry Council’s cites Bill of Rights in its statement of intent.
 
May

DCYF includes children of incarcerated parents in the community needs data collection.
 
June


SFCIPP begins tracking steep increase in inquiries from local constituents as well as other jurisdictions.
 
September

SFCIPP produces 10-year review of coalition efforts/ Rights to Realities Campaign.
 
October

Centerforce recognizes Zellerbach Family Foundation for its ground-breaking work on behalf of CIP, including its ongoing support of SFCIPP.